Jan Vermeer Van Delft (1632-1675), also known as Johannes Vermeer, was a 17th-century Dutch Golden Age Baroque painter. He spent his life working and living in Delft, the Netherlands. His life and achievements were not noticed until the mid-19th century, and his simplicity was not recognized due to the popularity of luxury. As a result, most of his paintings were sold after his death. However, he was good at using the subtle changes of color of light and shadow to paint, which could be compared with the optical camera nowadays. His representative works include The Milkmaid and Girl with a Pearl Earring.
Not much is known about Vermeer's life. How did he spend his early childhood and adolescence, and what artistic activities did he engage in during his life? All that is known is that Vermeer was born in the fall of 1632 to a middle-class family in Delft, the Netherlands. The old Vermeer, who was a weaver, was named Reijnier Janszoon and married Digna Baltens. When they had their second child, Vermeer, the elder Vermeer, was running a store and selling paintings on the side. After six or seven years of diligent study, Vermeer joined the Guild of St. Luke on December 29, 1653, and became a full-fledged painter. On April 5 of the same year, Vermeer married a young girl named Catharina Bolenes. The newlywed couple did not leave their parents and still lived in the old house.
Vermeer's works are mostly paintings of everyday life and often with only one or two figures, usually women engaged in domestic work. Vermeer's paintings are usually warm, comfortable, and quiet, giving the viewer a solemn feeling, fully expressing the preference of Dutch citizens for a clean environment and an elegant and comfortable atmosphere. He liked to use yellow, blue, and gray, and his grasp of color and light treatment is outstanding. The layout of his paintings is usually simple and small but often has a huge visual impact. He is known as a master of light and shadow and uses the technique of pointillism. He was good at using light sources to create a flowing, elegant atmosphere in his works.
Vermeer was very careful about his paintings. Through the technique of camera obscura, the composition of the painting, the proportions of the figures, and the changes of light and shadow were as exquisite and realistic as a photograph that some critics thought it was not art. Nevertheless, in the Dutch Golden Age, people did not consider painting an art, just a craft, a skill to make a living. His paintings usually took a long time, around two or three years, to complete a work, but each was a masterpiece.
There are not many of his works. So far, only 36 of them have been recognized as authentic. Among the portraits he painted, there were 40 female figures and only 13 male figures. His paintings are usually of one or two people working or relaxing indoors, with the light coming from the left. Vermeer had always used a friendly and simple style to describe the ordinary daily life around him and is called an excellent genre painter by art historians.